After a long and very full life, Dave Sundberg died Jan. 11, 2018, at home and surrounded by family and friends who brought music, laughter, tears, and some beautiful goodbyes to his bedside.
Born at the onset of the Great Depression, Dave was raised in Olympia. His high school yearbooks tell of an early passion for social connections, sports, and fast cars; the latter a passion that was easily displaced when he met and married his lifelong love and surviving partner, Ellen.
A beneficiary of the GI Bill, Dave graduated from WSU and began what was to be a 33-year career with the Continental Can Company. While his upward corporate arc required 21 household moves, Dave put a priority on family time for reading, camping, hiking, beachcombing, and sliding on snow. While he never matched Ellen’s skiing abilities, he did gift a love of many of these pursuits to his children and his grandchildren.
After retirement, Dave and Ellen built their “dream house” overlooking the Columbia River Gorge near White Salmon. Dave described these magic 30 years by saying, “Ellen grows beautiful flowers, we take long walks, know all of our wonderful neighbors, vacation, bicycle, and are active in our local Methodist Church and our homeowner's group.”
From running the local water system to helping neighbors in projects ranging from construction to caring for their children, Dave loved meeting new people and forging meaningful relationships. Many of these folks joined Dave in his last hours of life to share stories, sing and even box one last round with him.
Dave has left this amazing world in the care of his wife Ellen, his four children Greg (Kelly), Karen (Valko), Steve, and Brian (Sue), his grandchildren Peter (Kait), Emily, Kumar (Kate), Cyan (Victor), Nicholas, and Connor, those who also know him as “Pa” including Mimms, Bella, Maddie, Lyle, Finn and Chase, and finally his four “granddogs” Meg, Scout, Hazel and Bear who will greatly miss Dave’s exuberant greetings and the crumbs of his favorite potato chip snacks.
His goodbyes were often marked by waving a white handkerchief to departing family and friends before turning back to the property he so loved. With tears, it’s now our turn to wave farewell to Dave, and then to continue on with our mutual focus of caring for this world we are graced to live in.
A memorial will be held at the United Methodist Church that Dave and Ellen attended for almost 30 years in White Salmon (341 North Main Avenue) on March 24, 2018, at 2 p.m. led by the chaplain and long-time friend, Judith Ann Richards. Friends and family are all welcome to attend.
We ask, in lieu of sending flowers, to please make a donation to Mercy Corps, one of the many charities that Dave and Ellen have supported over the years.
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